There are two main types of Hammer toes
. Hammertoes can be flexible, which means that you can
still move the toe a bit - these are easier to treat with stretching, wider shoes and in some cases, toe splints. Rigid hammertoes occur when the foot condition has persisted for so long without
treatment that the tendons become too rigid to be stretched back to normal. Rigid hammertoes are more common in people with arthritis. This foot condition usually needs to be treated with
Shoes that narrow toward the toe may make your forefoot look smaller. But they also push the smaller toes into a flexed (bent) position. The toes rub against the shoe, leading to the formation of
corns and calluses, which further aggravate the condition. A higher heel forces the foot down and squishes the toes against the shoe, increasing the pressure and the bend in the toe. Eventually, the
toe muscles become unable to straighten the toe, even when there is no confining shoe.
The symptoms of hammertoe include a curling toe, pain or discomfort in the toes and ball of the foot or the front of the leg, especially when toes are stretched downward. Thickening of the skin above
or below the affected toe with the formation of corns or calluses. Difficulty finding shoes that fit well. In its early stages, hammertoe is not obvious. Frequently, hammertoe does not cause any
symptoms except for the claw-like toe shape.
The earlier a hammertoe is diagnosed, the better the prognosis and treatment options. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your hammertoe with a simple examination of the foot and your footwear. He
or she may take an x-ray to check the severity of the condition. You may also be asked about your symptoms, your normal daily activities, and your medical and family history.
Non Surgical Treatment
In many cases, conservative treatment consisting of physical therapy and new shoes with soft, spacious toe boxes is enough to resolve the condition, while in more severe or longstanding cases
podiatric surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity. The patient's doctor may also prescribe some toe exercises that can be done at home to stretch and strengthen the muscles. For example,
the individual can gently stretch the toes manually, or use the toes to pick things up off the floor. While watching television or reading, one can put a towel flat under the feet and use the toes to
crumple it. The doctor can also prescribe a brace that pushes down on the toes to force them to stretch out their muscles.
A variety of anaesthetic techniques are possible. Be sure an discuss this with your surgeon during your pre-op assessment. The type of surgery performed will depend on the problem with your toes and
may involve releasing or lengthening tendons, putting joints back into place, straightening a toe and changing the shape of a bone.Your surgeon may fix the toes in place with wires or tiny
wear sensible shoes. Here are some tips. Most people have one foot that's bigger than the other. Fit your shoes to the bigger foot. Buy your shoes at the hammertoes
end of the day as your feet tend to swell a bit and you will get a better sense of fit. When you buy your
shoes, wear the sock that you will be using when wearing that shoe - wear a sports sock when buyingtrainers, for example. As you get older, your feet get bigger. Get your feet measured every time you
buy shoes. Don't go by shoe sizes. Shoe sizes vary among manufacturers; a shoe is the right size only when it fits comfortably. The ball of your foot should fit into the widest part of the shoe. A
shoe should be sturdy so that it only bends in the ball of the foot, exactly where your big toes bend. Any shoe that can be bent anywhere along the sole or twisted side to side is generally too
flimsy. There should be at least 1.5 cm between the tip of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Never buy shoes that feel tight and expect them to stretch with wearing. If you have prominent
areas on your feet such as hammer toes and bunions, avoid shoes with a lot of stitching or multiple pieces of fabric, as these stitched areas tend not to stretch to accommodate various toe
deformities. Your shoes shouldn't ride up and down on your heel as you walk. The higher the heel, the less safe the shoe. Check children's shoes regularly.